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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2010 Nov;299(5):G1087-96. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00124.2010. Epub 2010 Aug 26.

Human-derived probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri strains differentially reduce intestinal inflammation.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology and Pediatric Research Institute, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas 7703, USA.


Lactobacillus reuteri (L. reuteri) is a probiotic that inhibits the severity of enteric infections and modulates the immune system. Human-derived L. reuteri strains DSM17938, ATCC PTA4659, ATCC PTA 5289, and ATCC PTA 6475 have demonstrated strain-specific immunomodulation in cultured monocytoid cells, but information about how these strains affect inflammation in intestinal epithelium is limited. We determined the effects of the four different L. reuteri strains on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation in small intestinal epithelial cells and in the ileum of newborn rats. IPEC-J2 cells (derived from the jejunal epithelium of a neonatal piglet) and IEC-6 cells (derived from the rat crypt) were treated with L. reuteri. Newborn rat pups were gavaged cow milk formula supplemented with L. reuteri strains in the presence or absence of LPS. Protein and mRNA levels of cytokines and histological changes were measured. We demonstrate that even though one L. reuteri strain (DSM 17938) did not inhibit LPS-induced IL-8 production in cultured intestinal cells, all strains significantly reduced intestinal mucosal levels of KC/GRO (∼IL-8) and IFN-γ when newborn rat pups were fed formula containing LPS ± L. reuteri. Intestinal histological damage produced by LPS plus cow milk formula was also significantly reduced by all four strains. Cow milk formula feeding (without LPS) produced mild gut inflammation, evidenced by elevated mucosal IFN-γ and IL-13 levels, a process that could be suppressed by strain 17938. Other cytokines and chemokines were variably affected by the different strains, and there was no toxic effect of L. reuteri on intestinal cells or mucosa. In conclusion, L. reuteri strains differentially modulate LPS-induced inflammation. Probiotic interactions with both epithelial and nonepithelial cells in vivo must be instrumental in modulating intrinsic anti-inflammatory effects in the intestine. We suggest that the terms anti- and proinflammatory be used only to describe the effects of a probiotic in the living host.

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